[ hip-uh-kam-puhs ]

noun,plural hip·po·cam·pi [hip-uh-kam-pahy, -pee]. /ˌhɪp əˈkæm paɪ, -pi/.
  1. Classical Mythology. a fish-tailed horse of the sea that was ridden by the sea gods.

  2. Anatomy. an enfolding of cerebral cortex into the lateral fissure of a cerebral hemisphere, having a major role in learning, emotion, and memory, and named for the seahorse shape of its cross section.

Origin of hippocampus

First recorded in 1575–80; from Latin hippocampus, hippocampos, from Greek hippókampos, equivalent to hippo- hippo- + kámpos “sea monster”

Words Nearby hippocampus

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hippocampus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hippocampus


/ (ˌhɪpəʊˈkæmpəs) /

nounplural -pi (-paɪ)
  1. a mythological sea creature with the forelegs of a horse and the tail of a fish

  2. any marine teleost fish of the genus Hippocampus, having a horselike head: See sea horse

  1. an area of cerebral cortex that forms a ridge in the floor of the lateral ventricle of the brain, which in cross section has the shape of a sea horse. It functions as part of the limbic system

Origin of hippocampus

C16: from Latin, from Greek hippos horse + kampos a sea monster

Derived forms of hippocampus

  • hippocampal, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for hippocampus


[ hĭp′ə-kămpəs ]

Plural hippocampi (hĭp′ə-kămpī′)
  1. A convoluted, seahorse-shaped structure in the cerebral cortex of the temporal lobe of the brain, composed of two gyri with white matter above gray matter. It forms part of the limbic system and is involved in the processing of emotions and memory.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.